Mt. Dora High School
Lake County Schools, Florida
White concrete block walls. Broken equipment. A lifeless cafeteria.
It was time for a change, so the food program directors for this Florida high school turned to LTI’s VisionDesign service to reimagine the drab, boring space as an engaging environment where students could eat and socialize and where meals could be served easily and efficiently.
Envisioning Cane Café
Mt. Dora High School, part of Lake County Schools in central Florida, has a student population of just over 1,000.
To honor the school’s Hurricanes mascot, LTI developed a Cane Café brand to bring a restaurant feel to the time-worn cafeteria.
What was previously a solid white wall was transformed to a colorful mural highlighting student activities like sports, music and graduation. Columns, walls and tables throughout the facility were adorned with Mt. Dora’s vibrant orange school color and other engaging hues of yellow, green and gray.
Bar height tables and chairs took the dining experience away from traditional row seating and toward the kind of restaurant experience that students enjoy.
A swirling hurricane-inspired design applied to a few walls augmented the artistic décor, and messaging throughout the facility honored Mt. Dora’s vision and principles in educating and supporting students.
“We completed this project near the end of the school year, and the graduating seniors were disappointed that they weren’t going to get much time in this great new space,” said Kim Remick, food service manager at Mt. Dora High. “It’s been an amazing change.”
The walls weren’t the only thing dated in Mt. Dora High’s cafeteria. The serving line counters were also old and worn and had too few wells for the school’s needs.
LTI installed new counters with QuickSwitch technology, which allows wells to operate as hot, cold or frozen side by side — and to switch between temperatures in less than an hour.
“Being able to have those hot and cold wells has really helped our serving,” Remick said. “Now when we do taco Tuesdays, we can have the lettuce and cheese and other cold toppings in the same line as the hot meats — instead of off to the side somewhere they can stay cold.”
This change helps the meal line move faster since everything’s in one location, an arrangement students happily compared to a Chipotle.
A two-tier glass QuickSwitch counter was also installed to increase the holding area, giving Remick and her team more space for displaying fresh fruits, pizzas and more.
“This new cafeteria has a wow factor that the students love,” said Willis Smith, LTI’s education sales specialist who worked on the project alongside the school staff. “It’s a whole new experience when they walk through the doors.”